KrithiBook is an essential companion app for all Carnatic Music connoiseurs! It is a handy quick reference to more than 3000 songs (krithis) featuring most of the major Carnatic Music composers. For each song, the title, the raga (with mēḷaārōhaṇaavarōhaṇa), the tala and the composer is provided. All informaton is cross-referenced in multiple ways resulting in a simple, yet powerful storehouse of knowledge!

KrithiBook is bound to come to handy to many of us during a carnatic music concert to look up information about songs being rendered. However, even at other times, it is an invaluable knowledge-base on carnatic music for finding answers to many questions such as:

  • Which of the composers composed in a certain raga – say ābhōgi?
  • How many songs did tyāgarāja compose in a raga, e.g. pantuvarāḷi? What are they?
  • What is the ārohaṇa and avarōhaṇa of a raga – say andhāḷi?
  • Who composed the varnam in nārāyaṇagauḷa?
  • What songs are part of the nīlōtpalāmbā kṙtīs composed by dīkṣitar?
  • What songs are part of the nauka caritramu opera composed by tyāgarāja?

The song title, names of ragas, talas and composers are shown using roman diacritics, and thus conveying accurate pronunciation detail. The song detail page also shows the information in Tamil (iPhone & Android), and Devanagiri (at present only in the iPhone version) scripts.

KrithiBook also features a “fuzzy” search that is extremely flexible and can find a song even if you provide only an approximation of its spelling. For example, sItamma maayamma, seetamma mayamma, seethamma mayamma will all locate the song sītamma māyamma by tyāgarāja.

All these features make KrithiBook indispensable to carnatic music rasikās with smartphones all over the world! Expand your knowledge on composers, krithis and ragas! Impress your friends!

KrithiBook is available now at both the iPhone App Store as well as the Android Market.

Another tune. A contrived name, possibly the worst of mine (although as always it hints at the raga in an obscure way if your interpret it like a crossword clue).

The new thing here is that it was created with Garageband but the iPad version. This version is different from the one the mac as it has a lot of controls designed to take advantage of the iPad touch screen. However, it has some limitations which makes it too hard for me to try to play a carnatic melody like I did with Bebot here.  On the other hand, it has some fine guitar sounds which I was able to use as the background score. I also have grown bolder in that the entire melody is played by me. A careful ear can see it was done in bits and pieces, which should tell you all you need to know about my playing abilities! Only when you record something, particularly against a background score, you realize how perfect one should be and how one hard it is to even approach that!

The raga that is the “inspiration”  for the tune is admittedly a bold choice since it is a weighty raga and whose character is dependent on some characteristic gamakas. The tune here though isn’t using those gamakas – just approximations in some places. Thus the  raga character is again going to be perhaps just a faint hint if at all.   The raga is also tough in that it does not have a straightforward scale and that its modern day interpretation has been questioned by some as “too liberal”.. Also, with a westernized tune with the westernized flat notes, it is very easy to give whiffs of other ragas if one isn’t careful. I don’t think my tune escaped that and so it is possible listeners may smell other ragas.

What is perhaps satisfying to me is that there are exactly 3 simple chords for the song – Cmaj, Aminor and Eminor – very standard stuff found in the major scale (i.e. Sankarabharanam). But I found that my adding another (plucking) layer with the other notes in this raga, I could change the character of those chords away from a standard western sound to something more “foreign”?

Here it is. Hope you like it.

Also, here are links to earlier numbers:

Today is a great day. I finally followed through with something useful 🙂 !!

My first iPhone App  Xanagram is available on the Apple App Store for $1.99. It is a Crossword Jumble game, which I hope that many of you would find exciting and engaging.

An exciting word game!

The game works as follows: You are presented with a puzzle containing two scrambled words. You solve the puzzle by unscrambling the words and the game presents the next puzzle. Puzzles get harder (longer words) or easier depending on how you do. You can reveal the meaning or select letters to help you solve the puzzle.

Please check out http://arunk.freepgs.com/xanagram for more information or click here to take you to the App Store. Let me know if you like it!

Update:  There is now a free version Xanagram Lite for those that want to give the game a spin before deciding whether to spend the $1.99 for the full version. The Lite version uses a smaller dictionary.

A post after a long time (yes, this has become a recurring theme 🙂 ).

In this one, I return to taking of the liberty of requesting you, the reader (if you are still around) to lend your ears for a few minutes and listen to my “attempt” at using carnatic music concepts in western music.

Without much ado, here it is:

(You can also download the audio file from here.)

Note: As before a good pair of headphones with good dynamic range and high volume may provide the best effect – no tinny PC speakers!

I hope you can guess the raga. It has a very strong melodic flavor which is defined in its scale i.e. arohana/avarohana itself.  I do believe that in this piece, although it takes a while to build up, that flavor should stand out fairly well, particularly in the second solo which has very recognizable phrases and progressions.

I am actually excited and satisfied with this one on a few counts:

  • Created on the iPad! Most of my previous attempts were created pretty much in entirety with Garageband on the Mac (except for the one on using that amazing iPhone app Bebot). However, this one was created entirely on the iPad using an excellent full-featured sequencer app called iSequence!! For $14.95, this can create some amazing music, with many number great sounds/instruments already part of the package, and extra ones you can buy for $1.99 each. This piece was created fully using the default set of sounds. Not all the default sounds are great but some are awesome.
    • The clever reader may have noticed a cheap attempt  to “entice” one to listen to earlier attempts by bring them into the topic and providing hyperlinks. But that clear reader is still requested to indulge the blog writer ;-).
  • I have always loved this raga because of the emotion and energy it carries.  It is one of the few ragas which I think would be a fantastic fit for a symphonic orchestral piece with high energy. I think this is one area where some of the intense carnatic ragas (with strong melancholy or pathos) can be used to terrific effect. My aim was for a  rock(ish) piece that had the same kind of vibe. I am satisfied that I came up with something that does reflect my thoughts on this raga in a western fit. I like the energy it carries.
  • One of the “features” that iSequence has is a glissando mode which is implemented very well as a smooth slide without too many digital artifacts that we may encounter in many software synthesizers (or atleast the inexpensive ones I have tried). I have used it in this piece albeit still trying to make it as western – but I think this mode has good potential for a more carnatic melody.

I hope you liked the piece. If you do, please provide your thoughts in a comment below.